We love manicotti but I have to admit that making it gets a little frustrating for me.
You know how you cook the pasta and then have to put the filling in, but sometimes you overcook the pasta and it rips and then you can't get the filling in there? Well yeah, it's a little irritating LOL
I went online in search of an alternative and low and behold.....Wonton Wrappers! Duh!
The recipe I used is one I've had for years and it's from America's Test Kitchen. It's the one I always use when making this dish, but I do add maple sausage or italian sausage sometimes to change it up a bit.
*Serves 6 to 8
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (in juice)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
Cheese Filling and Pasta
3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
10 Large Wonton Wrappers (I use the Azumaya brand - they are the same ones I use for Egg Rolls)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside.
Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using spoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each wrap, leaving top quarter of wrap exposed.
Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. (You should be able to fit 8 manicotti in one row and 2 along the edge).
Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is completely covered.
Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
The manicotti can be prepared right up until the baking step then covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.) To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.